Helen Lightbody arrived at Buckingham Palace in 1948, when Prince Charles was one month old. The woman who later came to be known as “No-Nonsense Lightbody” ran the Palace nursery with an iron hand, says royal biographer Penny Junor. “The Queen was actually quite frightened of her,” she says, “and as a result didn’t go to the nursery quite as much as she might have wanted to.” But the hard-nosed Scot’s rigidity was ultimately her undoing. Having already been warned about being overly stern with Charles and his younger sister, Princess Anne, Lightbody was fired in 1956 after refusing to serve a special pudding that Queen Elizabeth had ordered for Charles’ dinner.
Nannies have played an important part in the life of the monarchy, and British royal children have often become very close to them – sometimes closer than they are to their parents. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have reportedly decided to break with centuries of tradition by choosing not to employ a full-time nanny for their child. Instead, they will rely on part-time help. Here’s a look back in time at the women employed to help raise the children of the British royals.